Better late than never?

Bernard Kouchner is one of the few people in public life whom I have long admired, whether as a principled humanitarian (he was the founder of Médecins Sans Frontières but left it on a matter of principle) or as a practical politician (he was France’s Minister of Health in several left-wing governments and is now, without compromising his leftist politics, Foreign Minister in a right-wing government). And so, when he said last week that he was “very happy” about the prospects of the Annapolis Conference for peace in the Middle East, I felt at least mildly encouraged.

For seven years I have lived with the embarrassment of having written an essay, “Thoughts on the 2000 Election,” in which I wrote, among other things, that “a Bush – that is, a Republican – administration would have another advantage over Gore: it would not be burdened with the pro-Israel bias of the Democratic Party due (at least in part) to its heavy Jewish influence” and that “the highly effective Israel lobby would [not] altogether lose its clout in a Bush administration…” [but] “such an administration would have more freedom of action in imposing some tough choices on Israel.”

Of course I had no way of knowing that, in matters of international policy and security, the Bush administration would in fact become the Cheney rule, and that the paranoid neo-Nazi fantasy of the Zionist Occupation Government (“ZOG”) would become a reality, with many high-ranking officials (Wolfowitz, Perle, Abrams and their ilk) constituting, practically, a Washington cell of the Likud.

Now these people are gone, along with their enforcer Don Rumsfeld, and while Dick Cheney retains his constitutional position, his name is rarely heard outside of jokes. The Annapolis Conference represents the kind of initiative that I was so naively hoping for back in the year 2000.

The impression that I’ve been gathering from the media is that it’s too little, too late. And perhaps late is not better than never. Perhaps a fresh start in a new administration might have a better chance. But it never hurts to feel vindicated, even if very late.

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